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Category Archives: Divorce

Who Knew Divorce Was Such Hard Work?

Trust is one of the cornerstones of a successful marriage and for some, the lack of it is often what leads to the end of the marriage. The reality is that trust is also the cornerstone of a successful divorce. Stop laughing. If you’re divorced and have kids, you already know divorce is as much work, if not more, than marriage. Especially if that divorce involves kids and a co-parenting plan. Even if you had trust in your marriage, maintaining it as two single parents can be a struggle at times. It’s hard enough to build trust when both parties are living under one roof and building the same life together. Now you’re in two separate homes, living two separate lives, and reaching for different north stars as individuals. While you’re still very much focused on raising the kids together, other aspects of your lives are changing. Circumstances are going to change and a certain amount of distance will continue to expand between the two of you as your lives take you in different directions. Knowing in the back of your mind that your ex will have less and less concern for your own personal needs, wants and visions, it’s natural that defenses will go up any time there’s a sign that one of you is pulling away or acting more independently.
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This works both ways.

Finding that balance between starting a new life while still managing essential parts of the old one is, in my opinion, the hardest part of divorce. The amount of thought, effort and consideration it takes to ride the waves of two separate lives that are intertwined through parenthood can be hell sometimes. I’ve stated before and it bares repeating; the death of a marriage is a slow arduous process that continues even after the papers are signed. Even as a divorced couple there are still elements of our old relationship that you’re naturally going to hold on to and attempt to maintain. Let’s face it, change is hard. Even if that change is a positive one. Learning to coexist under a different set of rules is backbreaking.

The reality is, your divorce isn’t unlike any other relationship you have. There will be ebbs and flows on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis. Elements of your new lives will influence decisions and actions and you’ll wake up some mornings wondering, “what the hell just happened?” I promise you that for every freak out moment you have, your ex is having three. If you both truly care for your children, you’re both going to get your dander up on occasion when you don’t feel a fluid, even keeled, co-parenting plan in action. You’re also going to go into a mental tailspin any time you see your ex make a move that may or may not indirectly affect your own life. As much as you’re living separate lives, as parents it’s no secret that your own tides are influenced by your ex’s moon from time to time. Try to remember; your lives are likely going a mile a minute. You’re both juggling a LOT as you attempt to be both the mom and the dad at home. You’re going to go through financial waves that influence your mood and your decision making. From time to time the lines of communication are going to breakdown. There will be misunderstandings and misreads. When they happen, do your best to stop and scan the current landscape. Certain cornerstones have likely been knocked out of place and you and your ex are going to have to reset them properly. That may take a bit of time and effort but it has to happen otherwise everyone loses.

So stop. Breathe. Shake it off and get back to focusing on the kids. Then when you’re ready and the dust settles, regroup and rebuild.

It’s all a good lesson in trusting the cosmos.

 

 
 

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The Chalk Wall Command Center

This past week my sister came to visit and helped me get some work done on the house. One of the jobs was painting bathrooms and a wall in the kitchen. On a whim, we decided to try chalk board paint on the kitchen wall and I’ll tell you, so far it seems to be a huge hit!

On it we have a weekly calendar for a quick reference regarding events, who the kids will be with and whatever we need reminders about. There’s a daily weather forecast so the kids know how to dress for school which one of the kids is always responsible for. A menu so we know what’s10568905_10152573678487908_3045153205304462917_n available for dinner. There’s also a grocery list where anyone can jot down something we’re in need of. The beauty is, when we head to the grocery store, we simply take a picture of the list and access it on our phone when we get there.

Other sections we’re currently working on include a chores list, a tip of the week, a poetry section, and putting up important themes and words that represent the type of energy we want in the house. As a communication tool I’m looking forward to seeing how we can utilize it to keep up with school work, game schedules, supply lists and whatever else we can think of. It’s like a huge command center for the house that keeps us all on the same page (or wall as is the case here).

Cost? The paint cost all of $20 for the entire wall. Roller and brush was $10. Chalk is $1.25 a box. And the kids think it’s the most amazing thing since sliced bread and have worked as a team to keep it updated and consider new ideas.

I’m currently looking into stencils to increase the over all artistic value of it, but as you can see, with a little planning, it’s really not rocket science and the best thing is, if you don’t like something it’s a breeze to erase and start over.

 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2014 in Divorce, Uncategorized

 

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Stop The World & Melt With You

Is it just me or do governments at war sound an awful lot like two ten-year-olds in a dispute over who has the right to the last ice cream sandwich. One eventually punches or slaps the other and then justifies it by claiming the other one looked at them funny. Before long they’re screaming at each other, hitting, kicking, calling each other names all insisting that the other one started it with neither noticing that the ice cream sandwich has melted.

With the sandwich now gone, you would assume the conflict would end. cookie2k

Hell no! Now they’re going to fight over whose fault it is that the ice cream sandwich melted. Somehow they’ll manage to pull everyone around them into their newly created drama with different siblings and friends choosing sides. This will eventually last for decades as they tell their own children about how their brother caused the last ice cream sandwich to melt, depriving them and their descendants of any chance at divine happiness. Centuries later it will become a religious holiday whereby they will celebrate each year by gathering around a table. Each person will then break off a piece of a stale cookie sheet symbolizing the empty shell of the ice cream sandwich.

Businesses will capitalize on the conflict creating ice cream sandwich trinkets, key chains, t-shirts and necklesses. Hallmark will create a “Merry Ice Cream Sandwich Day” card. There will be songs written, TV specials, movies, documentaries, books, poems and plays on Broadway.

Fighting will continue for generations, with each carrying the torch from their ancestors. It will eventually no longer be about the ice cream sandwich but the pride of a people and their hatred for the other side. Lactose intolerant groups will protest claiming discrimination. Dairy Queens will be bombed. Innocent people who don’t even like ice cream will die as they walk through the frozen food section at Kroger.

And it all will have been avoidable if the parents of the two kids who started this whole thing would have just sent them both to their room without ice cream for acting like brats in the first place.

 

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Divorce

 

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Moving On

Three years after my divorce, I am strongly considering selling the big house and downsizing. We won’t move far. We’ll stay close to their mom and all of their friends. This is more about simplifying our lives than anything else. Smaller house, smaller payment, less things. I’ve talked about it before, but this is farther than we’ve ever gone. I initially bought out my ex for her half to ensure the kids would be able to stay, at least half the time, in the house they knew as home and their foundation. That was important to me. We were turning their world upside down. Felt like they deserved to at least be able to lay their head down at night in a familiar space that made them feel secure. I knew at some point we’d probably move, but not until it felt right. Now after three years, with the encouragement of the kids, we’ve determined that it feels right.

We really do need time to heal and regain our wits. Three years down the road, I would never recommend anyone make any huge changes immediately after a divorce. It’s difficult to explain because in theMovingDay moment all you want to do is move on and start over. But I promise you, you’re not ready. You’re going to need some time to regroup. Some things you won’t have any control over. But I found for us that maintaining as much normalcy as possible had its benefits.

I never anticipated the emotional impact the thought of moving would have. Perhaps on some level I kept the house for my own sanity as well, not fully prepared to rip myself from that part of my life. But what an enormous step emotionally it has been to consciously make the choice to move forward and say goodbye to the past. To let go. To accept. To feel a confidence in knowing you’re ready to roll. There is a true cleansing taking place. A sense of renewal. An excitement of starting a new chapter. I’ve held on long enough as have the kids. I wouldn’t have done it any differently. So glad we stayed. It hurt like hell financially, but was worth every penny.

Along with being able to take my time in preparing the house, going through everything and making decisions with a clear head; doing it this way has allowed the kids to be a part of the move. It’s partly their choice. They have some say. With the divorce they had none. Had we moved then it would have been the same thing. “We’re moving because of the divorce.” This way it’s their decision as much as it is mine. We’re looking at new houses together. Discussing the options. The pros and cons. Working together as a team. Moving on as a team. Helping each other through the different aspects of what it means to say goodbye to a house that has been our home for ten years. But we’re doing it on “our” terms, not just mine. They’re excited which I don’t think would have been the case three years ago.

 

 

 

 

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How To Eat An Elephant

I’ve been told the best way to eat an elephant (although I’m not sure I would actually wish to do that) is one bite at a time. How many times have you looked at your day the same way saying to yourself, “Perhaps I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.”

The mass of tasks that surround us from time to time can appear overwhelming and undoable when you look at it as a whole. If you’re like me, you see twenty things that need to get done and your system initially shuts down out of an inability to comprehend how you’re going to get it all completed. I actually find it odd that the more we have tohow-to-eat_an_elephant1 accomplish, the less inclined we are to attack any of it.

As a video director I work off of the same philosophy when filming. Often we attempt to capture too much with one shot which makes it impossible for the viewer to know what they’re supposed to be focused on. The best thing to do is to choose one subject, focus on it and blur out everything around it so you can keep your attention on just one thing for a while. Then move to a second shot when you’re ready. Eventually you end up with everything you need to put together the perfect story.

Same holds true in life. When you’re attempting to focus on too many things at once, the reality is you focus on none of it. It’s just a mass of information and your system simply can’t register it all at once. And so it shuts down.

So, make a list of things you need to get done. I know, “Really? A List? Who are you, my ex-wife?” But it works. Write down EVERYTHING that needs to happen. Pick a couple of small things, focus on them one at a time and then move on to something else. You may not get to everything in one day, but you’ll start to see things getting done which will motivate you to keep going. Before you know it you’ll look at all of the crossed off items and realize you’re capable of more than you gave yourself credit for.

The payoff, btw, is huge. The accomplishment of each task gives you a sense of moving forward and getting your life under control. Progress of any nature is empowering and it all starts with the first small bite.

 

 

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